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Visa to Categorize Gun Sales, Climate Change Tipping Points, and More Security-Related News

The security profession is focused on Atlanta, Georgia this week, where the Global Security Exchange (GSX), kicked off today. Whether you’re attending or not, the GSX Daily will keep you up to date on everything happening there. But the world does keep spinning, so here are a few security-related news items to know about.

Visa, Mastercard, AmEx to Start Categorizing Gun Shop Sales

The world’s largest payment processors, including Visa and American Express, will begin using the new ISO merchant classification to categorize purchases made at gun shops. The decision is a major win for gun control advocates, who say the measure could help prevent mass shootings if those with access to the information see large purchases. Previously purchases at the establishments were labeled “general merchandise.”

Guns rights advocates argue the new categorization unfairly singles out the industry and will not prevent mass shootings.

“When you buy an airline ticket or pay for your groceries, your credit card company has a special code for those retailers. It’s just common sense that we have the same policies in place for gun and ammunition stores,” said New York City Mayor Eric Adams. New York City as well as other jurisdictions were primary advocates for adopting the new procedure.

Climate Change: Six Tipping Points ‘Likely’ to be Crossed

From the BBC article: “The idea of ‘climate tipping points’ was first introduced by the UN's climate science group, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), two decades ago. If crossed they could spark a significant change in the way the Earth's systems operate, affecting oceans, weather and chemical processes, which could be ‘irreversible’, according to the UN.

“Once a critical point is crossed—or ‘tipped over’—the breakdown of the system is self-sustaining, so will continue even if there is no further warming. This is self-perpetuating: a bit like if a ball crests the top of a hill and starts rolling down and cannot stop.”

Originally, scientists said an increase of five degrees Celsius would cause the tipping points, however, the concern is evidence shows the world may reach the tipping points sooner.

OSHA Unveils New Suicide Prevention Resources for Employers

As part of Construction Suicide Prevention Month, the United States Occupational Safety and Health Agency (OSHA) produced a tip sheet, “Suicide Prevention: 5 Things You Should Know.” The tip sheet is available for download as PDF and a poster can be printed and posted at worksites. The tip sheet is applicable to any workplace, not just construction sites.

In addition to the tip sheet, OSHA has many other suicide prevention resources for employers.

Is COVID-19 Winding Down? Scientists Say No.

From the Associated Press explainer article:

Is the coronavirus on its way out?

You might think so. New, updated booster shots are being rolled out to better protect against the variants circulating now. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has dropped COVID-19 quarantine and distancing recommendations. And more people have thrown off their masks and returned to pre-pandemic activities.

But scientists say no. They predict the scourge that’s already lasted longer than the 1918 flu pandemic will linger far into the future.

One reason it’s lasted this long? It’s gotten better and better at getting around immunity from vaccination and past infection. Scientists point to emerging research that suggests the latest omicron variant gaining ground in the U.S. — BA.4.6, which was responsible for around 8% of new U.S. infections last week — appears to be even better at evading the immune system than the dominant BA.5.

Despite the virus’s staying power, more and more activities are returning to normal as evidenced by New Zealand scrapping mask and vaccination mandates and the Bank of Japan ending pandemic relief funding.

Australia Financial Crimes Regulator Opens Investigation into Britain's Entain

The Australian Transaction Reports and Analysis Centre has opened an investigation, saying “entities have a responsibility to ensure they identify, assess and manage risks of money laundering and terrorism financing.”

Online betting has increased significantly since the COVID-19 pandemic began.

The Australian investigation is on the heels of the British gambling regulator fining Entain 17 million pounds ($19 million), its biggest fine, for what it called "completely unacceptable anti-money laundering and safer gambling failures."